Institut Ramon LLull

The British Centre for Literary Translation and the Institut Ramon Llull are organising an advanced course in Catalan-English literary translation

Literature.  07/07/2021

The online course is aimed at literary translators from Catalan into English who have already published at least one translation of a work of Catalan literature and who wish to broaden their skills as translators. The course will be directed by translator Peter Bush in collaboration with editor Sophie Lewis, and will run for three days, from Tuesday 9 to Thursday 11 November 2021.

The translation course is a joint project by the Institut Ramon Llull and the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, with the support of the National Centre for Writing (NCW), also based in Norwich. These are two of the most prestigious organizations in the field of literary translation training in the United Kingdom and Europe.

The aim of this workshop is to offer literary translators from Catalan into English the opportunity to share knowledge and challenges with other translators, improve their translation skills and delve deeper into issues related to editing.

To be eligible for a place on the course, applicants must have a published work in translation from Catalan into English (individually or collectively), including digital works.

The director of the literary translation workshop is Peter Bush, a translator from Catalan, Spanish and French into English. Bush is one of the most prolific and recognised translators from Catalan into English (he has translated works by many classic and contemporary authors) and has a long experience as a teacher of literary translation and as a trainer of translators.

Bush will be assisted by Sophie Lewis, a well-known editor and translator from French and Portuguese into English. Lewis will focus on the editorial work on translations, an important aspect that other workshops do not usually take into account.

The organisation of this course is part of the activities to support literary translation from Catalan into English of the "Catalan Culture Spotlight" programme, which will take place at the London Book Fair on 5, 6 and 7 April 2022, where Catalan literature will play a prominent role.

On the literary translation course

This 3-day Catalan-English literary translation workshop is designed to give published Catalan-English literary translators the opportunity to develop their skills further alongside their peers, as well as experts in the field.

Those translators selected will spend 3 days working as a group with experienced Catalan-English literary translator Peter Bush and renowned editor Sophie Lewis. Sessions across the 3 days will include:

  1. Literary Translation Workshops – Over the three days, there will be over 12 hours of literary translation workshops. These sessions will be led by literary translator Peter Bush and/or editor Sophie Lewis. These sessions will focus on honing translators skills and editing their work. The group will also work together to find solutions to translation challenges. The literary translation workshops are as much about working and building relationships with peers, as they are about receiving instruction from more experienced translators and editors.
  2. Plenary Sessions – There will be two plenary sessions that will focus on industry topics. These will include a publishers panel, followed by a session with the publishers that will give the translators the opportunity to speak to a variety of publishers in more depth and will also allow the publishers to get to know them.
  3. Evening events – National Centre for Writing will be hosting an evening event highlighting Catalan authors as part of their Meet the World series. There will also be a social and networking event for participants on the second evening, allowing translators to share a virtual drink and get to know each other better.

The Institut Ramon Llull will bear the full cost of enrolment fees for participants.

The call for applications for the course was published on 9 June and the deadline for submitting applications is 6 September 2021.

Peter Bush, workshop’s director-translator

Peter Bush made his debut as a literary translator with Coto vedado, by Juan Goytisolo, by whom he has translated eleven other works. He has translated several classic works from Catalan, such as In Diamond Square, by Mercè Rodoreda, Uncertain Glory, by Joan Sales, and The Gray Notebook, Life Embitters, and Salt Water, by Josep Pla; from Spanish, such as Fernando de Rojas’ Celestina and The Three-Cornered Hat, by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón; and from French, such as The Lily in the Valley, by Honoré de Balzac and is now working on Proust’s The Guermantes Way. He has recently translated fiction by Najat El Hachmi, Quim Monzó, Teresa Solana, Rosa Maria Arquimbau and Victor Català. Between 1998 and 2003 he was director of the British Centre for Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia, Norwich.

Sophie Lewis, workshop’s editor

Sophie Lewis is an editor and a translator. Previously Europe manager at Dalkey Archive Press and then senior editor at And Other Stories from 2011 to 2016, she was most recently managing editor at the Folio Society, from 2018 to 2020. She translates from French and Portuguese, and has translated Stendhal, Verne, Marcel Aymé, Violette Leduc, Emmanuelle Pagano, Colette Fellous, Leïla Slimani, Sheyla Smanioto and João Gilberto Noll, among others. In 2018 her translation of Noémi Lefebvre’s Blue Self-Portrait was shortlisted for the Scott Moncrieff and Republic of Consciousness prizes. Her co-translation with Jennifer Higgins of Pagano’s Faces on the Tip of My Tongue was longlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize. In 2016, with Gitanjali Patel, she co-founded Shadow Heroes, a workshops series for students on critical thinking through translation. She continues to edit books freelance alongside translations.

Further information on the workshop and registration for the course:

British Centre for Literary Translation website, here.

National Centre for Writing website, here.

The uniqueness of the course is its advanced level: participants will be translators from Catalan into English who have already translated and published at least one work of Catalan literature.

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